The chairperson of the session Ms. Indu Chandrashekhar, publisher and managing editor of Tulika books, New Delhi began this session, on The Future of Independent Publishing, by introducing the panel members, all of whom had rich experience on the independent publishing front. She first explained how IPDA, the Independent Publishers Distribution Alternatives, came into being. This organization constitutes independent publishers who came together to set up a distribution platform or mechanism that serves not only the needs of the founder publishers, but also new independent publishers across the country.
Ms. Amrita Akhil, the Director of Marketing (IPDA), in her presentation, outlined the kinds of books independents publish and elaborated on how books were marketed. Next, Alvito Baretto who owns a selling service called ‘Focus Bookstore’ in Bangalore shared his experience and warned that while independent bookstores had it difficult to attract and retain customers, they should not lose sight of the values that they hold and abandon them in pursuit of profits.
Ms. Radhika Menon (Tulika Publishers, Chennai) and Ms Mandira Sen (Stree-Samya, Kolkata) also provided their valuable inputs and brought their individual experiences to bear upon what was indeed a spirited discussion. They spoke about the marketing and editorial challenges they faced and provided unique insights into how independent publishers function in India, against all odds.
A healthy audience-panel interaction then followed.